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Editor's Note: Diamonds and Rhinestones

Apr 07, 2006, 22:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

"So, Brian what do think of the show thus far?"

Please, don't even get me started.

Okay, maybe I was just grouchy because I'd blown out my knee the week before and was limping around a building that could swallow a small town. Maybe it was because there were no big releases being announced this time around. Maybe it was because I got suckered into thinking one of the after-show gatherings was going to be a really cool spot and it was actually a dive.

But people, this show was seriously lacking.

Energy. Traffic. News. Fun. Whatever. You name it, it was lacking. And this bothers me because, given the recent successes of Linux, there was no reason to be anything but a very cool show. And, save for a few stars, it wasn't.

But, with my leg encased in ice in my comfy home office, I feel better now and want to highlight the positives (and mock some of the negatives). There were some excellent nuggets at LinuxWorld--you just had to know where to find them. So today, I happily present the first-ever (and, likely, the last) Brian K. Proffitt Smart-Aleck Awards to give more participants their just due. Winners receive nothing, though non-winners may breath a sigh of relief at not being associated with me.

Best Overall Booth: Booths overall were smaller this year; they didn't have the giganto mega-booths for some reason. Intel, Novell, and Red Hat all had significant size going for them, but I've seen them bigger. Novell's layout was intimate, but it really turned out to be more cramped than anything. Red Hat's was really open, but spread out. Intel had some nice modular features that were a good balance. But I thought the best layout was newcomer rPath, who was jammed in between the SugarCRM booth and the down escalators onto the show floor. rPath made particularly good use of their space, with a narrower but deeper slot that you could walk back into and have a discussion without being surrounded by passersby.

Best Presentation Gimmick: This one came down between Pogo Linux and Unisys. The latter had a magic show for their presentations, and while it's been done before, I thought the banter was snappy and illusions pretty good. But I have to say it was Pogo Linux's spoof on The Daily Show that won it hands down. When I first saw the "Jon Storage" sign, my lame-o alarm went way off, not to mention that fact that you don't mess with Jon in my little liberal world. But I swung by during one of the actual skits, and I have to say that the impressionist was pretty decent, and they got in a few shots of dry humor in without looking like they were trying too hard.

Hottest Booth: Unisys, of course. C'mon, did you actually think I'd let that one slip by? Unisys also gets the honorable mention as Company with the Least Sense of Humor, since they were pretty uptight about the whole booth-on-fire thing to the press. Guys, no one was hurt and the show went on as planned. Be thankful for that and take the jokes in the spirit they were intended.

Best Show Tchotchke: Novell's SUSE ball caps were on almost everyone's heads, but the winners by a landslide were Splunk's "Take the Sh out of IT" t-shirts. Funny and wrong, great combination.

Worst Booth Costumes: In honor of their upcoming Nashville summit, Red Hat's bright red country-style sequined shirts were wrong on two levels. First, rhinestones. Second, what a great way to show event attendees that you are clearly focused on where you really want to be (Nashville/Your Own Event) instead of where you are (Boston/LinuxWorld). (Jokes aside, our strongest wishes of safety go out to those in the Nashville today.)

Most Talked-About Product: This one was harder to pick, since there wasn't a clear winner. Certainly the One Laptop Per Child product got some attention, as did Xen--if only because the latter was mentioned in collaboration with so many other product announcements. Xandros Server got some buzz time, but I think the overall winner in this category was the OpenXchange Server, since so many people were grabbing me and asking me what I knew about it.

Most Trash-Talked Company: This one was a tie, because the companies are in two different IT sectors and they were getting smack dealt out all week.

First was VMware, who got dissed by almost every virtualization player in the joint. Harsh stuff, though a lot of it seemed to focus on past performance issues, and not present ones.

Second, in the messaging sector, Scalix was the one getting slapped around. One company was so adamant about how much better they were than Scalix, I had to remind them that I was there to talk about them, not their competitor. Word of warning to those who like to toss the insults around: run that stuff by the media too much, and we'll start wondering about your inadequacies.

Least Talked-About, Yet Coolest Product: OpenSUSE is about to launch a new public package building system that, if it works, will be a very easy way to packages (RPM, DEB, tarballs) created for any configured platform (i586, IA-64, PPC). I saw an early proto-alpha demo and my eyes got all big and sparklely. I know, XGL will be mondo-cool, but this solution has some serious far-reaching potential for all the distros.

Best New Show Feature: No more Rookery. Instead of being shoved into a separate section, new show vendors could be wherever the could afford/fit. They were given little white signs that said "New Show Participant," and that was all. Good move, IDG. Now all the vendors can have a chance to sit at the big table.